Gateway to International Education


Finland is located in northern Europe between our neighbors Sweden, Norway and Russia. We are part of the European Union and a unique member of the Nordic family. But Finland and Finns are different. The Arctic climate gave us guts - or 'sisu' as we call it. IT always looks for a practical solution, turning potential setbacks into steps forward. Finns are strong believers in equality and education. Our higher education system is one of the best in the world with great international connections, low hierarchies, and academic freedom.Studying in Finland is not just about the studies. It is a chance to make friends, build networks, and experience something new. Finland is a safe country where things work and nature is always close by. English is our third, unofficial language.

Finland is looking for thinkers with a mind of their own. If you want to stand out, don’t do what everyone else does. Instead, improve your potential and prospects: Study in Finland.


  • Live in the most peaceful and sustainable country in the world (Fragile States Index 2016)
  • Study in the best higher education and training system in the world (World Economic Forum 2015)
  • Live in the healthiest ecosystem in the world (Environmental Performance Index 2016)
  • Breathe the third cleanest air in the world (World Health Organisation 2016)

Improve your skills in the most innovative country in the world (World Economic Forum 2015) Finns are proud of our well-organised and efficient society. We pride ourselves on the effectiveness of Finland's general infrastructure in conjunction with both public and private services.

Indeed, Finland is one of the world’s most stable nations. In 2015 Finland was ranked as the only "Very sustainable" state in the world (the Fragile States Index).

Having well run public services like the police, fire and rescue services, transportation, education, and health care are fundamental to our daily living.

Banking, safety, technology – you name it: everything works!


Education is one of the cornerstones of the Finnish welfare society. We pride ourselves on an educational system that offers equal opportunities of education for all, irrespective of matters of residency, sex, economic situation or linguistic and cultural background.


  • Early childhood education and care (ECEC) (voluntary)
  • Pre-primary education (1 year, compulsory)
  • Basic education (9 years, compulsory)
  • Upper secondary education, vocational and/or general education (3-4 years)
  • Higher education in universities and universities of applied sciences (UAS)

Detailed information on the education system in Finland can be found on the Ministry of Education and Culture website, or on the Finnish National Agency for Education pages - see links in the right-hand margin.

For a listing of the higher education institutions in Finland, see section 'Where to study' of this site.

Studying in Finland

This residence permit application is for you if you are coming to Finland to study at a Finnish educational institution at which you have already been accepted as a student. If you are an EU national, you do not need to apply for a residence permit. You can travel to Finland and register your right of residence instead.

The studies must lead to a degree or vocational qualification. Applicable educational institutions include universities and universities of applied sciences, vocational education institutions and, in the case of exchange students, any of the above and upper secondary schools. In special cases, a residence permit for study may be issued for studies other than those described above (e.g. exchange studies).

In Finland you must take responsibility for supporting yourself. It is difficult for a student to find work in Finland. Before you come to Finland, make sure that your finances will be sufficient for the entire period of your studies. Residence permits for students are normally granted for one year at a time. Income is investigated in connection with every application. You will need to have access to at least 560 euros a month to pay for your accommodation, food and other expenses. For one year of residence you will therefore need to have 6720 euros available. Starting in 2017, there is a tuition fee for most degree programmes in universities, if the student is from outside the European Union. If you need more information, you should contact your educational institution.

As a student you will be responsible for your illness-related expenses in Finland. You will need private insurance for your residence permit to cover your medical and drug expenses.

If you have family members who will move to Finland with you, they can apply for a residence permit at the same time. The goal of the Finnish Immigration Service is to make a decision on your whole family's applications simultaneously, but this is not always possible. You must be able to support the livelihood of both yourself and your family in Finland. Your spouse must make their own account to send their application. You may send the application for your child through your own account.

Check that you have all the necessary attachments and information before you begin. You must have at least:

  • a valid passport
  • a certificate of acceptance from a Finnish educational institution
  • a clarification on income
  • a clarification on tuition fee or scholarship, if applicable
  • a certificate of health insurance.

If other attachments are required, this will be indicated in the application. If there is a tuition fee

Studying in Finland

If your studies in Finland take longer than 90 days, you need a residence permit for studies. If you do not have a residence permit, you can study in Finland for a maximum of 90 days. Even if you stay in Finland for less than 90 days, you may still need a visa.

The Finnish Immigration Service grants residence permits for studies leading to a degree or a vocational qualification. Accepted educational institutions include institutions that provide education after basic education, for example universities, universities of applied sciences and vocational education institutions. You may get a residence permit even if you already have completed a higher education degree in your home country.

You may also get a residence permit for studies not mentioned above if you have a well-founded reason for it, such as complementing your earlier studies, further training related to your occupation, or special training available in Finland (for example training on the monitoring of international agreements). Residence permits are not granted for studies at open universities.

If you only come to Finland for an internship, you must apply for a residence permit for internship. If you come to Finland for postgraduate studies and you will receive a salary or a grant, apply for a residence permit for scientific research.

If you are not sure whether you are a researcher or a student, please read the page Researcher or student? If you are not sure what application form you should use, use the Application Finder to find out.

You must take care of your own means of support

You must have sufficient means for living in Finland during the entire period of validity of your residence permit. You must have at least EUR 560 at your disposal every month to be able to pay for your accommodation, food and other needs. In other words, you must have EUR 6,720 to be able to study in Finland for a year. If your educational institution will support your living in Finland, you are required to have fewer funds of your own. Read more about students’ means of support.

Tuition fees

Finnish institutions of higher education charge tuition fees from students who arrive from outside the EU and the EEA. In your application, you should give evidence that you have the necessary funds to pay your tuition fees.

You are allowed work in Finland if the work is related to your studies

The residence permit for studies enables you to work without restrictions if your work is related to your degree. This means practical training and thesis work. You also have a right to have other jobs but the following restrictions apply:

  • You may only work for an average of 25 hours per week during the academic terms.
    • The number of working hours is not restricted on a weekly level. This means that you can adjust your weekly working hours during the academic term, as long as you work for 25 hours a week on average.
  • You can work without restrictions at the times when your educational institution offers no instruction, that is, during summer and Christmas holidays.

Students must have insurance

As a student, you must personally cover the costs if you become ill in Finland. In order to get a residence permit, you must take out private insurance that will cover your medical and drug expenses. Read more about insurance.

Family members

If you have been granted a residence permit for studies, your family may usually apply for a residence permit on the basis of family ties.

After graduation

If you have completed a degree in Finland and you have a job, you may use a specific application form to apply for a residence permit for work. If you have already been working when you had a valid residence permit for studies, you are allowed to continue working or start working in a new job until we have made a decision on your new residence permit application.

If you have recently graduated and want to stay in Finland to look for work, you may apply for a residence permit for seeking work.

General requirements for entry into Finland

Make sure you meet the general requirements for entry into Finland before you submit an application.

hecklist for students applying for their first residence permit

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Apply for a residence permit online as soon as you have received confirmation that you have been accepted as a student at a Finnish educational institution. You must to have a study place in order to apply for a residence permit for studying.

  • Pay the fee for the academic year, if one is charged for your studies prior to your arrival in Finland.You must attach proof of payment of this fee to your application.
  • Before filling in the application form, make sure that you have all the attachments mentioned in the instructions:
  • After sending the application, visit a Finnish embassy or consulate in your home country, or in your country of legal residence
  • Bring your passport photo and the original documents that you attached to your application via the e-service with you to the embassy.
  • At the embassy you will also have to give your fingerprints and prove your identity.

Filling in the application form online

Create a user account in the e-service and fill out the application form for a residence permit for studies.